Portuguese-speaking leaders and business professionals convened at the Keele campus recently to discuss the myriad of experiential learning opportunities available to students in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).
Portuguese is now the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world. Research has shown that there are many professional and cognitive* benefits that students gain from a strong second language. All 10 of the business and community organizations at the event actively use Portuguese throughout their organizations. Representatives from Azores Airlines and the Santander Bank attended (both corporations sponsor major awards in the Portuguese & Luso-Brazilian Studies Program in LA&PS). Others with deep ties to the University as experiential education community partners were also at the event. (*For more on the cognitive benefits associated with a second language, click here.)
“We’ve had outstanding interactions with the students at York, and the level of cultural and linguistic sensitivity has helped our law firm in many ways,” said York alumnus José Bento Rodrigues (BA ’07), from the law firm Rodrigues Paiva LLP.
The two-part event consisted of an open dialogue with Professor Narda Razack, who is the associate dean of global and community engagement in LA&PS, departmental and program faculty and the Portuguese-speaking leaders and professionals. The second part of the event was an informal, interactive meeting with students in the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Studies Program and the business and community representatives. The discussions covered internships, experiential education and internationalization opportunities.
“We were delighted to welcome business leaders and professionals to our campus and to have a dialogue about our exciting global and community initiatives and the potentiality of partnerships,” said Razack.
Business leaders spoke about the importance of speaking another language and highlighted Portuguese as a tool for success, not only in Toronto, home of a great number of Portuguese-speaking immigrant communities but also worldwide in Europe and emerging markets in Africa and Brazil.
“This event is very significant because not only does it serves to build strongest connections between the University and the community, but in the case of the Portuguese community, it validates the community’s growing relevance within Canada and throughout the Portuguese-speaking world,” said Professor Maria João Dodman.
The event, which took place March 21, was co-organized by the Portuguese & Luso-Brazilian Studies Program and the Office of the LA&PS Dean. It is part of an ongoing series of initiatives to highlight the program’s commitment to student success and the enhancement of community partnerships and experiential education.